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Offering More Than a Bachelor's Degree

The role of certificates in higher education

Most students (especially in the United States) want to earn a bachelor’s degree — the highest credential of the undergrad experience. But for part-time, online students, pursuing a bachelor’s degree can take six or more years to complete.

This is why BYU-Pathway Worldwide encourages students to earn certificates and an associate degree on the way to a bachelor’s degree.


PathwayConnect opens the door to stackable degrees, which allow students to choose from several different programs and earn three certificates, an associate degree, and a bachelor’s degree — all for the same time and cost it would take to only earn a bachelor’s degree.

By taking just five courses (typically 15 course credits), students can earn a certificate in a program designed to provide them with specific and highly-employable skills, improving their professional opportunities as they work to finish their online associate and/or bachelor’s degree. Nearly 3,000 students are currently pursuing certificates online.

One student from the United States explained the importance of certificates in professional development. He said, “The biggest reason I got the certificate was to show progress toward my degree within my resume. I needed to show that growth to get an internship and a better job.”

I got the certificate to show progress toward my degree.

Enrolling in an online certificate program in web media helped Jessica Oliveira , a former PathwayConnect student from Curitiba, Brazil, advance professionally and receive a promotion at her work.

Jessica Oliveira

“A certificate from [BYU-Pathway] was less expensive than other university courses in Brazil, and it helped me build my professional resume,” Jessica explained. “After I received my certificate, I was recognized at the company I work for and given a pay raise and new responsibilities. But most importantly, my certificate helped me improve my knowledge both as a professional and as a student.”

The skills students receive during their certificate courses are so valuable in the workplace that BYU-Pathway Worldwide’s new PathwayConnect curriculum seamlessly transitions every student to continue their education with a certificate on their path to a bachelor’s degree.

Three PathwayConnect alumni in Curitiba, Brazil, were the first to earn online certificates in their country.

For more information on BYU-Pathway Worldwide’s online certificate and degree offerings, visit .